Bele Chere Future
Updated: Thursday, March 14 2013, 06:58 PM EDT
The largest outdoor street party in the southeast is almost certainly over following this summer's 34th edition.
The bottom line, city leaders say can no longer afford to sponsor "Bele Chere".
The city would save $450,000. That comes as it faces a deficit of about $2-million in the coming fiscal year.
"Bele Chere" has grown tremendously in the time it was introduced in 1979 as an event intended to draw people to what had become a stagnant downtown.
Now the three-day festival in July ties-up streets, has a negative impact on many merchants, and taxes city services, primarily police. The festival has essentially outgrown itself.."
We will see the "Bele Chere" we all know this summer, the city is committed for 2013, but will likely stop its sponsorship in 2014.
So the next step is either find another sponsor, perhaps a community group, but "Bele Chere" is a huge undertaking that would be hard for anybody to afford.
By Frank Kracher
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankKracher